By Daisuke Wakabayashi
From Japan Real Time:
As more TV makers roll-out 3-D televisions this year, it highlights the electronics and content industries’ chicken-and-egg problem. Without 3-D content, why should consumers pay the extra money for a new 3-D set? Without a consumer base of 3-D-ready home electronics, why should content makers make 3-D content?
Sony Corp. sees its 35 million-plus PlayStation 3 game consoles as one way around the problem. In April, Sony released a software update for the PS3 so it can start playing 3-D videogames. Starting June 10th when Sony’s 3-D televisions go on sale in Japan, the first four 3-D titles for the PS3 will be available for download from the PlayStation Store. The games will only be available in Japan at first with the U.S. and other markets expected to follow shortly.
The four titles — “Mr. Pain,” “Star Strike HD,” “WipEout HD” and “MotorStorm2″ — are existing games converted into 3-D, not original 3-D titles. The games range in price from 800 yen ($8.75) to 1,800 yen ($19.75). “MotorStorm2″ will be a trial version and it will be free.
More 3-D titles are sure to follow soon since the conversion of existing titles is not that difficult (or so we hear) and this is one way Sony can differentiate itself from Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo Co.’s Wii. Of course, this is no guarantee of success. It remains to be seen if non-hardcore gamers will want to sit in front of their televisions wearing 3-D glasses to play videogames.
But the demonstrations of 3-D games have looked very slick and if Hollywood box office returns (see: “Avatar” ) are any indication, there seems to be genuine interest in 3-D. Tucked inside Sony’s press release on Monday is that the PS3 is slated to get another software update so it can also play 3-D Blu-ray films without the need for another machine.